Do you find that even though it feels like you have more time in the summer, your family still struggles to fit in all the activities you want to do each day? It seems that once the wet swimming suits are hung, the sand is vacuumed out of the car, and the toys are picked up, the day is gone.
But remember how you said you wanted your kids to read a little each day during the school break? Even though you know it's a great way to help them avoid the summer slide, alas, another day has passed and once again reading time didn't make the cut.
Not to worry. It's never too late to instill a summer reading habit. And most kids who like reading over the summer are happy to do it because they consider it enjoyable and a fun way to pass the time. Here are four reading ideas that you can easily make time for each week. Preparation is minimal and before you know it, you'll have a new routine in place to help the kids log some time with some books.
1. Pick a Theme
Take turns allowing each family member to pick a theme or topic of interest. Then, find books all about the chosen topic to read throughout the week.
Recently, our family had a Shark Week, All About Italy Week, Bike Week, and LEGO Week.
Visit the library and find books that fit the week's theme. (According to the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report trips to the library are the among the top three ways parents ensure their child reads over the summer.) It's also a great way for kids to explore new topics.
Throughout the summer, keep a big list of fun facts your children have discovered about your family's chosen topics.
2. Read to a Friend
Each week have your kids read aloud to a friend or family member. Your kids can read aloud to siblings, your elderly neighbor next door, or a friend visiting for a play date. Connecting with family and friends who live far away can be done via Skype, Google or Facetime.
If a human reading companion isn't available, a pet or stuffed animal can be just as effective. And, there is nothing wrong with reading to yourself. Have your child pull up a chair in front of the mirror, and read a story to his reflection.
3. Read and Creates
Read a book each week and then do a creative project to go with it. The creative projects don't need to be complicated. Often, your kids will come up with great ideas after reading a book together.
For example, read Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh, and then paint a picture by mixing different colors to create new shades. Or, enjoy Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty and have your kids invent a new gadget using materials from your recycling bin.
It's tinkering with a literacy twist.
4. Books and Dessert
Try a weekly after-dinner dessert night when the family enjoys reading together and talking about books.
When it's time for dessert, pull out the bowls, spoons, and a book. As the kids are enjoying their chocolate chip sundaes, read a picture book at the table. You may enjoy some of the books from this Sure-To-Please Book Recommendations list. As you read, stop and let the kids make predictions about how they think this story will end. Afterward, ask your kids to share their favorite part of the story.
This is a sweet treat the kids will crave each week.
Now, back to that time dilemma. This last bonus tip will help you set your new routine in motion.
Start your children's summer reading habit by linking reading to an activity or task that they do daily. For example, when the kids brush their teeth each morning, link that habit to the new habit of reading. So, after the kids brush their teeth, they read a book.
Before you know it, summer will be over and you'll have enjoyed lots of great books together. And you can continue the habit into the new school year too.
Featured Photo Credit: © ArtMarie/iStockphoto